KC Royals: 1985 vs 2015, Who Is The Real Champion?

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Oct 12, 2015; Houston, TX, USA;Kansas City Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain #6 gets his injured hand looked at by the trainer on the bench while playing against the Houston Astros in game four of the ALDS at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The bench also plays a big role for a team during playoffs. On both teams, the bench was essential for running the bases and clutch hitting. The 1985 KC Royals bench had one big moment during game 6 of the World Series, where Dane Lorg produced a two-run single in the ninth inning. A very famous clutch hit.

The 2015 KC Royals bench is known for their speed, led by Jarrod Dyson, but Paulo Orlando and Terrance Gore can be forgotten. Dyson is a lucky guy to have on the bench.  He is fast and talented enough to start everyday. Along with the solid bat of Johnny Gomes, the 2015 bench gets the point here.

Final score, 7-5. On paper the reigning baseball champs are the better team, but baseball is not played on paper. The stats do not show the heart both teams had.  In 1985, at the all-star break, the KC Royals were seven games out of first place before catching fire in the second half of the season. The 1985 Kansas City Royals became the first team to win two series after falling behind three games to one in the same post-season.

In this past season, it seemed like if the Kansas City Royals were within three runs, they always came back. That’s not an illusion. The 2015 KC Royals were the greatest late-inning team in playoff history. The Kansas City Royals pulled off more playoff comebacks (8), and multi-run comebacks (7) than any playoff team. They also scored more runs after the sixth inning than any team in playoff history (51) by a wide margin (Angels 36 runs).

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Both teams pulled off late-inning signature wins. The 1985 team rode an all time great performance from George Brett to beat the Blue Jays 6-5 in Game 3 of the ALDS, which prevented them from going down an almost hopeless three games to none. The 1985 club also saw Dane Iorg’s one-out RBI single that drove in two runs in the bottom of the ninth in Game 6 of the World Series to steal a 2-1 victory that staved off elimination. St. Louis Cardinals fans haven’t stopped crying about that game 30 years later.

Meanwhile, the 2015 KC Royals pulled so many miracle comebacks they’re almost too many to list. They overcame a four-run, eighth inning deficit against Houston to stave off elimination in Game 4 of the American League Division Series (ALDS). The Kansas City Royals stung Toronto ace David Price in a Game 3 rally to overcome a three-run deficit. Then they turned three eighth-inning deficits into victories in their World Series win over the Mets, including Eric Hosmer’s famous mad dash for home that tied up decisive Game 5 in the ninth inning.

Despite the unquestioned grit of the 1985 KC Royals, I think the “never-say-die” 2015 version earns the nod when it comes to intangibles.

Following the 1985 championship, the KC Royals fell to third in the division with a sub-.500 record. With the loss of Johnny Cueto, Ben Zobrist, and (perhaps) Alex Gordon, this off season is critical if Dayton Moore wants to avoid a similar fate and see his third World Series victory.